An increasing number of college students are reporting that mental health issues—often anxiety, depression, or both—affect their academic work. As these reports increase, demands on campus services, such as counseling centers, will likely continue to grow.
A recent United Educators (UE) claims study conducted over a five-year period shows that student mental health issues on college campuses are growing, dangerous, and costly. The information on this site provides resources and key findings of the UE claims study to help your institution respond to these challenges on your campus.
Claims fell into three categories: general mental health issues, suicide attempts, and deaths by suicide. General mental health claims accounted for 57 percent of the claims with losses. Deaths by suicide accounted for 43 percent of the claims with losses.
Claims were mostly made by women. Nationally, more women attempt suicide than men, but men generally choose more lethal means.
Depression and anxiety were the most common mental health issues cited, although students were often diagnosed with more than one condition.
Data shows that 81 percent of students who made suicide attempts or completions had no known or undisclosed mental health issues. Of those who had disclosed a mental health issue, the leading diagnoses were depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
While many claims in the study involved settlements of nonmonetary compensation, defending claims can be costly and time consuming. Nonmonetary compensation measures may include changes to a student’s transcript or grades, revising the school’s written withdrawal policy, training staff, allowing a class or exam to be retaken, continued enrollment in a program, or meetings with administrators.
Student mental health issues will likely continue to rise at higher education institutions. Use UE’s resources, including the data and lessons from the claims study, to help your institution understand the risks associated with mental health issues and measures for managing them.